Tata Group-owned Air India has asked its staff to vacate the government-owned housing colonies by July 26, according to an official document.
The Tata Group won the bid for Air India on October 8, 2021. However, as per the terms of disinvestment, the airline’s non-core assets such as housing colonies remain with the government. Air India has two major housing colonies — one in Delhi and the other in Mumbai.
“We are now in receipt of an e-mail dated May 17, 2022, from Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL) advising us to send a reminder to the residents to vacate the company accommodation latest by July 26 in line with the decision of Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM), which has already been conveyed to them,” said an order issued by Air India on May 18.
“In line with the above directions of AIAHL, a draft of the notice to be issued to the occupants of the company accommodation is attached,” it added.
AIAHL was set up in 2019 by the Centre for handling debt by selling non-core assets of the Air India group after its disinvestment.
A group of ministers called AISAM — headed by Home Minister Amit Shah and including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Civil Aviation Minster Jyotiraditya Scindia — handled the disinvestment of Air India.
The decision has not gone down well with the staff members staying there, with employee unions protesting the move and planning to approach the High Court against the eviction notices. The issue is now pending before the labour commissioner’s office, which had initiated a conciliation process.
The employees have demanded that they should be allowed to live in the quarters till their retirement. The first of the quarters was constructed by Air India in 1955.
The land on which these colonies stand belongs to the state government, which leased it to the government-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) and thereafter to Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), currently under the Adani Group of Companies.
“Any unauthorised occupation of accommodation in contravention of period permissible would attract penal rent equivalent to the sum of normal occupancy charges and double the market rent for the period of unauthorised occupancy. In addition to that, such an employee would be liable to pay damage charges of INR 10 lakh and INR 15 lakh for accommodation in Delhi and Mumbai respectively. The penalty would be recovered from arrear and any other financial benefit accruable to such employee.”Aviation Ministry to Air India befor disinvestment
Those who fail to vacate Air India colonies within the timelines will have their retirement/service benefits or any financial benefit accrued put on hold.
The same will be released only after a peaceful vacation in the accommodation. “Any liable charges, penal rent or damage charges would be recovered” from them.